1. What is a story?

We’re not necessarily looking for fiction. A story can be anything you want, a memory, an article, an essay, and yes it can be a work of fiction.

It’s whatever you want to share with the community.

3. How do I tell a story?

A story isn’t like a regular story, we’ve created some features to help you get started with Yarn.

They’ll help you structure your stories quickly, connect them with other stories (written by yourself or other Yarn storytellers), as well as add interesting details to provide depth and context.

The main features of building a story are:

  • Passages
  • Items
  • Library
  • Details
  • Notes

Step 1. Register with the site

To be a contributor you have to register with the site. The sign-up is very simple and just allows us to monitor Yarn for any unreasonable behaviour. Please read our Terms and Conditions before you start your first story.

Go to the top menu and click Sign Up. You will be asked to create a user name and password and to give your email address to register.

After you register you can add more details to your profile, if you wish, including an Avatar image.

Step 2: Add a Passage

Every story is made up of a series of texts - think of each one like a scene or even a verse. Your text can be as long or as short as you like.

Yarn will help you put multiple sections of text together into a sequence that tells your story. If you write each bit of text so that it makes sense when read on its own, other members of the community will be able to quote your text and weave it into their own stories.

Step 3: Add Items

You can illustrate your text with items like videos, photos and sounds from other websites and also other Yarn users.

You can upload images to Yarn. Images can be up to 5MB in size.

Items you’ve uploaded to other sites, such as videos, can be added to a personal Library, so you can embed them in your stories and also allow others to use them too.

Currently, you can add:

  • Images - any URL ending with JPG, PNG or GIF, or photos from Flickr.
  • Videos - URLs for videos hosted on YouTube, TikTok or Vimeo.
  • Sound - URLs for music, sounds and other audio hosted on SoundCloud.

We’re working on adding new file types and services, but we thought we’d start with the most common formats and the most likely places where people are sharing their photos and videos.

Some social media channels do block their images from being used elsewhere, so bear that in mind.

(Yarn also supports less common image formats, with URLs ending in JPEG, JPE, TIF, and TIFF).

Step 4: Add Details

You can add details such as people, places and times to enrich and describe a passage as well as help others to find your stories and quote them in their own stories.

There are four kinds of detail:

  • Person - you can add a name and a picture of anyone who features in your stories.
  • Place - you can add places to your stories, along with a name and a picture. Places don’t have to be real, they can be fictional (“Narnia”) or even metaphorical (“Grandad’s car”).
  • Time - the period in which the passage takes place - this can be a date, a year or even something less exact like “my childhood”.

Step 5: Linking stories together

Every passage in every story has a Quote this passage link next to it.

This allows you to include that passage in your own stories. You can use this to link stories from other users as well as make connections between your own stories.

Now you’re ready to publish. How many of these labels and objects you add is up to you. Then you can just publish and your story will be available on the Yarn website.


What is a Project?

Projects are a headings under which several stories can be grouped. These might be stories all written by a collective of people (a slimming club or a sports team) or stories that have a shared theme such as stories about the same place (a workplace or a town) or event (a celebration or a disaster).

You can create your own project and add stories to it by clicking on Projects in the top menu. Click Add A New Project. Give it a title and add some details and click Save and Add Stories.

Only the owner of a Project can add stories to it.

What is the Library?

Every time you add an item to a story, it is also added to your Library. The Library is a collection of all the items you and other storytellers have added to Yarn.

You can add items to the library while you’re writing passages for your story. Or you can add some items directly to your library before you’ve even starting writing stories.

This is a great way of collecting material together before you know how you want to organise it into a story.

What is a Note?

Notes allow other users to leave comments on a particular passage of your story. You can also use notes as “footnotes” to add context or references to your stories.

You can turn the Notes feature on or off for every story, from the Story Settings page.

Why can’t I upload my own videos?

We want you to be able to reuse the photos, videos and sounds you’ve already uploaded elsewhere and get stuck into telling stories with Yarn.

We also wanted to encourage storytellers to use what’s openly available on the web and arrange them into compelling and interesting stories.

By taking those small pieces of the web and orchestrating them into stories, you can use the best of what’s out there, your own items, as well as ensuring you don’t fall afoul of copyright laws.

What is a URL?

A URL a way to know where something is on the web and most commonly referred to as a “web address” or “link”. Here are some examples of URLs:

  • A YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZB_rGFyeU
  • A JPEG image - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Weaving-Bhutan-03_(detail).JPG/1200px-Weaving-Bhutan-03_(detail).JPG

Can I decide who can see my stories?

You have a number of options are available from the Story Settings page; every story you write can be set to be either:

  • Visible only to you.
  • Visible only to other Yarn storytellers with whom you share the story’s URL but will not appear in search results.
  • Visible to everyone that uses Yarn, and will also appear in search results.

Reporting abuse

Every Passage and Item includes a Report link, which you can click to report any abusive content. When you report an offensive item or passage, we’ll ask you to briefly describe the issue before submitting the report.

We’ll investigate your concerns and, if necessary, remove the offending item or passage.

Users found to be breaking the Terms and Conditions will have their accounts closed.